Maimbolwa Muliwana wrote -
In Zambia, some parents and children are not so lucky in terms of something which caused these children not develop as normally as other children. Some children suffer from brain damage. This effect of brain damage becomes obvious as the child reaches the age requirement of standing and walking on his or her own. This condition is called Cerebral palsy. This can occur during pregnancy (about 75%), during childbirth (about 5%) or after birth (about 15%) up to the age of about 3 years. As a result of the brain damage caused, children with Cerebral palsy are usually not able to walk, talk, eat or play like other children. They usually need constant help, attention and support. Others may also have cognitive problems, so that their mental capacity does not develop.
In addition to physical challenges, there remains in Zambia considerable stigma attached to this condition due to ignorance about the causes of this condition. There are still people who believe that it is caused by witchcraft or a malevolent spirit which inhabits the child’s body. The mothers are often blamed for ignoring traditional practices, thereby allowing their children to be born malformed.
The combination of increasing numbers of affected children, affected orphaned children, decreasing numbers of caregivers and weakened extended families, together with poverty, means that both affected children and cerebral palsy orphans are more likely to fall through traditional safety nets. The loss of parents effectively removes the primary social structure protecting the children and adolescents, resulting in increased vulnerability to key threats. Major threats faced by these children include lost educational opportunities, lack of social and emotional support for healthy psychological and social development, increased stigma, lack of adequate food, and lack of representation in the larger community to advocate for needs.
“Improved livelihoods, potential and access to basic needs of 60 CP affected children in the targeted communities through training and various support”
Through MYCEPA organization, GoYeTherefore (GYT) will target 60 CP affected children, disabled children and orphans at Chisamba MYCEPA centre in Central province of Zambia.
The project aims to provide various support to affected children in order to help them reach their full possible potential in life like other normal children.
Munu Ka Yumbwa Cerebral Palsy Association (MYCEPA) is a registered organisation based in Chibombo District, Central Province at Chisamba William. Munu Ka Yumbwa means “A Human Being Cannot be Discarded” or “Every Person Has Value”. MYCEPA has pledged to improve facilities available in Zambia for children with Cerebral palsy (CP) condition and other disabilities. MYCEPA was formally registered on 21st February 2007 under the Societies Rules (Section 7 (1) of Societies Act Cap 119). It was officially launched by the then Minister of Community Development and Social Services – Hon. Michael Kaingu on 25th July 2009. MYCEPA is a Zambian initiative by affected parents especially the mothers and young adults with Cerebral Palsy condition and other disabilities, supported by a cross section of dedicated individuals both locally and internationally and those who live near the project site.
The project will support CP affected children, disabled children and orphans and their families through:
- Establishment of high quality and specialized services to CP children in MYCEPA Rehabilitation centre.
- Awareness community meetings concerning the causes of CP and the need for acceptance of affected children into society.
- Advocacy for improved access to basic needs of CP affected children
- Training of mothers and guardians of affected children in handling and caring CP affected children and disabled children. This is to help parents and guardians in the routine management of CP children so that they become better equipped to cope with their challenges and to continue therapy at home.
- Encouraging women having affected children to engage in various income generating activities.
- Provision of specialist equipment like wheelchairs, braces & calipers to affected children.
The project will target 60 CP affected children and disabled Children some of which are orphaned.